Greta Neimanas' Blog - Sometimes, I Just Feel Like Smiling

Aug. 27, 2009, 12:25 p.m. (ET)

Sometimes I just feel like smiling. I really don't have anything in particular to be so happy about, but at the same time, I have absolutely everything to be happy about. Right now, I'm reclining in my old man's recliner chair (my sole piece of furniture) struggling to stay awake after an exhausting morning training session. Why not take a nap? Because I feel like writing. Call me crazy, but it's one of the many things that makes me very happy.

I've had this discussion before- about happiness- and it seems to me that cyclists are often construed as jerks. Why? Because everything we do revolves around pain. Actually this argument can be made for a majority of athletes, but I'll stick to cycling. If you're not in pain, you're thinking about how you will be soon, or the pain you were in a few moments ago. Or sometimes you think about the pain you're going to put your competition in. All this discomfort can make for some nasty attitudes.

That said, I think it's fair that people don't always like us. If I were on the outside looking in, I don't think I'd like us either. But I'm on the inside, and I do like us. I understand. At the end of the day riding a bike really fast is fun. It feels good to push your body to its limit and even beyond. I voluntarily put myself in pain every day, and I love every minute of it.

I suppose you have to be somewhat masochistic to actually be a cyclist and keep coming back every day, but there's just something about it that I love; and we all know you can't stop the power of love. I think it's because I feel alive, pain means you're alive right?

Look at it this way, I push myself closer to death everyday and in return get an awesome place to live, travel all the time, and meet super cool people. That's a pretty good deal if you ask me. Oh, and being able to represent your country is nice too.

This is what I've done so far this year: a five week road trip in the southwest and SoCal, went "across the pond" for a competition, had a seven week road trip all over the US, raced my bike almost every day for 14 straight days, met more people than I can keep track of, saw the most beautiful sunset and sunrise in places I never would've guessed, went from -200ft and 115° to 10,000ft and 34° in 24 hours, fell victim to Twitter and now Tweet several times a day. I've read books, saw tons of awesome (and some terrible) movies, art and music, discovered the wonders of TV on the internet (no more commercials!) and started taking classes again.

So really, I have a lot to smile about. A little discomfort never hurt anyone right? Oh wait...